I read a blog post recently from another business consultant for artists that emphatically stated that you should delete your blog. My advice is so contrary to this that I ended up on a phone call with an artist friend going through all the reasons why you should have a blog.
Here's why you shouldn't let go of your blog…
Most artists I talk to are not excited about having an artist's blog. Here are some of the objections I’ve heard:
- “I don’t like to write.”
- “I don’t know what to say.”
- “Why would anyone want to read my ramblings?”
- “I can’t write a blog post every week, so I’m just not going to start.”
- “I’ll never rank highly enough on Google from my blog posts, so I don’t blog.”
- “I’m not a ‘blogger.’”
Many of these objections are based on preconceptions about what a blog is (and isn't). So, before we dive into why you need an artist's blog…
Let go of preconceptions about your blog, but keep your blog
Use a different word
I think one of the biggest hurdles for artists is simply terminology.
When you hear the term “blogger,” you probably think of some bigwig, publishing content to help sell their next live retreat in Belize, their first (or fifth) book which is coming out soon, or their online training program.
So, before we go any further, let’s start using a term that works for you. If the word “blog” conjures up all of the objections above and more, scrap it. Don’t use that word.
Since a blog is nothing more than an online journal or diary, call it that. Or your Artist’s Notebook. Change the terminology in your head and on your website to something that works for you.
By referring to your blog as a journal, diary, or notebook, you will automatically feel more comfortable with the idea. Millions of people across the globe write in a journal or a diary, so why shouldn’t you? The only difference here is that you’re sharing a selection of those entries with your audience.
For the sake of consistency, I'm going to keep referring to it as your blog in this post, but know that I fully support you calling it whatever you want.
Don't worry about competing with the big guys
Another thing to let go of is concern about using blog posts to rank high in search engine results (if you ever have worried about that).
It’s true that it would be hard for little ole you to write enough blog posts with just the right keywords to be able to show up near the top of the list when someone searches for your type of work—contemporary art, watercolor landscapes, woodblock printmaking.
But with regular blogging, you can begin to show up in Google searches for specific, less competitive keywords that you choose, and gradually build an audience of followers as your readers join your email list.
Play the long game
Finally, it’s true that writing blog posts is not going to put cash in your pocket today. You are not likely to make money directly from one or even a series of blog posts. But you can say the same thing about every marketing tactic—social media posts, email newsletters, etc.—and you’re doing those things, right? (I hope so!)
All of these marketing tactics work together as a system. If you’re going to argue that blogging isn’t worth it, the same case could be made for every other marketing tactic taken independently. Just because something is hard doesn't mean it isn't worth doing.
Blogging is a very important piece of the marketing puzzle for successful artists.
Why you shouldn’t delete your blog
1) A blog helps you practice telling your story and talking about your work
The purpose of an artist's blog is to use your story to bring in a larger audience—but not necessarily in the way most online marketing consultants will tell you.
It’s hard to write about yourself and your work. I get it, really. Maybe you don’t even know what your story is. Blogging, as practice for telling your story, will benefit your art business for these reasons:
- You can develop your story and your voice over time
- You’ll discover what makes your work unique
- You’ll be prepared to write, talk, or be interviewed about your work when opportunities come up
2) Storytelling helps build a relationship with your current and potential buyers
When you tell the story of your process, share your creative thinking, and get readers engaged on the ground floor of a piece of work or a series, you connect with your current and potential buyers and build a relationship with them around your work.
Forbes writes about this in their article, 4 Benefits of Using Storytelling in Marketing. In summary, they assert that storytelling helps to convey your personality, helps you and your brand stand out in the market, helps you connect emotionally with your customers, and helps keep your audience coming back for more.
3) A blog gives all of your social media images and short stories a home where they can be read again
If you’re putting in time on social media, posting images, telling short stories about your work, and you’re not reposting your content, that work benefits you only ONCE. Why not put in a little extra effort to make sure that the content you’ve created is available for future visitors to your website?
This chart from HubSpot shows you how the benefits of blog writing are cumulative. Regular blog posts can help you generate traffic today and help you increase your traffic in the future without any additional work:
4) Blog posts are “sticky” or “boomerang” content for your website
Blog posts and the stories told through them give visitors a reason to return to your website, which allows you to get your work in front of them and get them a step closer to purchase.
Most website visitors will read the page they entered the site on and then look around. For most websites, visitors view between 2 and 3 pages per visit.
If you have Google Analytics installed on your site, you can check this metric yourself by visiting the Audience Overview section.
5) Regular blog posts can keep your website homepage fresh for new visitors
One overlooked benefit of an actual blog, rather than writing new content for other pages within your website, is that website builders such as WordPress and SquareSpace allow you to show recent blog posts on your homepage or another section of your website automatically.
If you only write new content on non-blog pages within your website and then want to add that content to your homepage, you’ll have to spend time trying to figure it out yourself, or you’ll spend money to have your web developer do it for you.
With the right template, you can update your homepage by simply writing a new blog post—one more way for you to be both effective and efficient with your marketing efforts.
6) Your blog can help you get more press coverage
Although it’s sad, it’s also very much the reality today that fewer and fewer reporters and journalists are doing the work of covering local, regional, and national news. And beyond that, arts-specific writers have been disappearing at an even higher rate.
Given that there are fewer people doing this work, reporters may not have the time to interview you and write a story; instead, many are looking to cover people who can hand them stories.
You should definitely be doing media outreach work—sending press releases and pitching stories to reporters—but your blog plays a major role in securing that coverage. Blog posts make it more likely that a reporter will cover your work since you are providing valuable stories that can be excerpted. For that reason, it has become standard practice to link to blog posts, videos, and other self-published content in press releases.
Without stories of your own ready to share, you are likely to be passed up for coverage in favor of another artist or story that is more turn-key for a reporter.
7) A blog can help you be more efficient with your marketing
Your blog serves as the home for content that you can use in multiple ways to make you more effective and efficient with your marketing. Blog posts can and should be:
- Posted to social media (blog posts that are “evergreen” can be re-posted to social media at a later date as well, saving you time and energy)
- Included in email newsletter content (now and in the future)
- Set up to send automatically through your email newsletter so you’re accomplishing two tasks at once (email marketing and blogging) See how to do this with MailChimp.
- Used to pitch yourself for media coverage and guest blogging opportunities
- Included as supplementary content in press releases
- Added to your website homepage to keep fresh content available to your visitors
Take the first step: write a blog post
Not every blog post needs to be the best thing you’ve ever written, you don’t need a fully-developed, super-strategic blog strategy to start, and you don’t need to worry about keywords, SEO, and other digital marketing mumbo jumbo.
All you need is a story to tell and the initiative to take the first step.
If you’re not sure about what to post on your blog today, take a look at my article, 15 Creative Ideas for Your Next Artist’s Blog Post, and pick an idea from the list. Spend 20 minutes drafting a post, then come back to it tomorrow or the next day to finish it and post it on your website.
Trust me, the hardest blog post is your first. It will get easier and become part of your routine as you go, but you have to take the first step.
I would love to read your first—or most recent—blog post. Share it with me in the comments below.